HC Deb 26 April 1988 vol 132 c197
16. Mr. Patchett

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total value of current contracts to build frigates; and how many jobs are involved.

Mr. Sainsbury

Four type 22 and four type 23 frigates are currently in various stages of construction. Precise costs are commercially confidential, but the total value of those orders is in excess of £1 billion. Each frigate directly employees about 1,200 men in the shipyard over its three to four-year build programme. In addition, at least twice that number will be employed elsewhere over the same period producing the weapons and equipment to be fitted in the ship.

Mr. Patchett

Will the Minister tell the House how many jobs will be lost in Swan Hunter, Yarrow and Cammell Laird if he refuses to order in full in this financial year the four frigates that are desperately required by the Navy, and has he decided which yards will close if he does so?

Mr. Sainsbury

We are currently awaiting the best and final offers to the invitations to tender which we issued earlier and to which my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces referred in a recent answer. Clearly, we shall want to place the orders in the light of those tenders to give the Navy the best possible value for money.